First enacted in 1984 by President Ronald Regan, Military Spouses Day is observed in May, on the Friday before Mother’s Day. The holiday honors the importance of wives and husbands in supporting our service members at home or abroad. It can be difficult for spouses of service members who often have to shoulder all of their family’s domestic responsibilities while their partners protect our nation.
The Role Spouses Play in Our Military
The military spouse community uses resourcefulness and courage to adapt to changes in lifestyle and location that can occur at a moment’s notice for a military family. The spouses of our servicemen and women are also integral in creating communities that support each other during changes in station or while their significant others are deployed. And it’s a good thing they do because knowing that things are taken care of at home makes it much easier for service members to focus on their jobs.
Educational Support for Military Spouses and Families
Throughout the year, there are a number of opportunities for military families and spousal support when it comes to higher education. The Army Emergency Relief program assists with education for family members of active duty military members. They provide grants and scholarships to children and spouses alike, firm in the idea that higher education leads to a more stable family on the home front.
The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program, funded by the Department of Defense, offers thousands of dollars in grants to further the education of military spouses. Universities also generally have a support structure for military families and may offer assistance in obtaining financial aid and building the skills needed to successfully acquire a job. These, and many other programs, help provide higher incomes so that military families have the stability and peace of mind that all hard-working Americans deserve.
Perks and Programs for Military Families
Because they often live more stressful and difficult lives than many average Americans, military families should strive to make time for fun. SeaWorld offers four free tickets a year to service members and their families through the Waves of Honor program. To aid families with children, Our Military Kids dispenses grants to help military children from 3-18 years of age get involved in various clubs, camps, and sports.
The YMCA also provides free memberships to the family members of deployed military personnel. And let’s not forget the National Parks Service. They offer free yearly passes to veterans and service members so they can enjoy a family vacation observing some of the most beautiful parts of our nation. Activities like these are crucial to the health of a military family. They provide opportunities for families and service members to spend time together and develop the bonds and relationships that are necessary to maintain a balanced domestic life.
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Additional Support for Military Families
There are a number of additional organizations that assist military families and spouses. Project Sanctuary, created by Heather Ehle, adheres to the concept that when a servicemember is deployed, the whole family is deployed. They focus on mental health through family therapy, retreats, and by assisting the Wounded Warrior Project. Bluestarfamilies.org is another organization that seeks to link military families and the general public and assist families in adapting to new or frequent changes in location. The National Military Family Association also helps military families get access to their benefits and is chaired by a board made up of family members of current and former military personnel.
How to Celebrate Military Spouses Day
Each year, military bases all over the country hold events to celebrate Military Spouses Day. Many events focus on helping to create a stable family atmosphere in the sometimes-tumultuous life of a military family. These include virtual and in-person seminars on finding work-life balance, money-saving tips, job searching, entrepreneurship, and building stronger relationships in the family.
You can also celebrate military spouse’s day by reaching out to a military family in your community and helping make their lives just a little bit easier. For example, you can make them (or their deployed spouse) a care package or gift bag. You can also invite the whole family over for a barbeque or movie night. Or, for the adults, you can arrange for a babysitter and invite the spouse of a deployed service member out for dinner and drinks. Even the smallest gesture of kindness can go a long way toward helping military families in your community.
How You Can Help Military Families Thrive
Military families don’t have to go through their tough times alone. Whether you are an active duty military member, a veteran, or a patriotic civilian, there are ways you can help. Donating to any of the aforementioned organizations is a great start.
If you seek a more active role, always make sure to connect with new military families in your area and ask if there is any way you can help them acclimate. Remember, a military family moves on average every two and a half years, so educating your children about the military lifestyle can help them interact with kids of military parents who can sometimes have stressful situations attending a new school or moving to a new neighborhood.
If you’d like to honor a military family or spouse in your life, consider reaching out this Military Spouses Day. Remember, a little bit of effort goes a long way toward making a military family feel comfortable and supported.
Popular Patch strives to honor the sacrifices that our military families make and their ability to adapt to ever-changing circumstances in support of those who serve our country. One of our favorite spousal support patches, the Submariners Wives patch, comes in pink or blue. The phrase “Submariner’s Wives Also Served with Pride” is stitched on the front and embodies our message that military families are just as integral to the defense of our nation and freedom as the people who actively serve. Browse thousands more military patches by visiting our inventory.
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